Optimization of the Water Reticulation System at Bulawayo Mining Company (BMC), Zimbabwe
Keywords:Erratic Water Supply, Water demand, Reticulation System, Optimization, Mining Production
Bulawayo Mining Company (BMC) is estimated to lose millions of dollars in potential profit over a period of its documented life of mine (LOM) which is nine years as at May 2019. The projected loss is attributed to the time value of money emanating from the extension of the Life Of Mine due to mining inefficiencies. These inefficiencies are due to poor management of the water management system that plays a key role in the mining cycle. This project was done to make a quantitative analysis of BMC underground water management system in order to establish the bottlenecks and use this knowledge to optimize an efficient Water Reticulation System (WRS). Erratic water supply has an implication of disrupting the mining cycle as most of the operations rely on water; therefore, the supply of water is of great significance. In an effort to resolve the problem of erratic water supply, experiments were conducted to ascertain the quantity of water demanded in contrast with the supply. New Visual basic computer program (WaterCal) that can calculate the optimum WRS parameters as well as simulating real conditions through extrapolation was developed. Algorithm based on fluid mechanics laws and theorems was integrated in the application thereby simplifying the mine design and planning process. It was strongly recommended that the mine should consider using computer solutions in future designs of Water Reticulation Systems such as the WaterCal Windows Application. The pipe size is supposed to be increased from 50mm to 100mm. The mine should also adopt the use of flow meters and pressure gauges to effectively monitor and control the reticulation system effectively.
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